The Lady Vanishes – Rediscovering ‘My Name is Julia Ross’ (US 1945 – 65 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 17, 2019

An edge-of-your-seat suspenser, ‘My Name is Julia Ross’ is a fast moving melodrama that I’d never heard of until fairly recently, but it turned out to be a very entertaining discovery.

The standard plot is pretty simple. After taking a job in London as a live-in secretary for the elderly Mrs Hughes (Dame May Whitty), Julia Ross (Nina Foch) awakens a couple of days later to find herself holed-up in a mansion in Cornwall. It transpires that Whitty’s knife-wielding son Ralph (George Macready) has killed his wife and needs Julia (who resembles her) to be killed, but made to look like …

Read More

“Stay off of my Beach” – Rediscovering ‘Once You Kiss a Stranger…’ (US 1969 – 106 mins)

Rediscover ‐ November 11, 2018

A colourful, lurid, and trashy thriller, ‘Once You Kiss a Stranger…’ was made just before the exploitation era took full reign. A sub-par version of ‘Strangers on a Train’, it’s not nearly as good, but it does have it’s own charm, and has a sizable following among bad-movie buffs.

The much tried-and-tested plot is simple. After deliberately seducing golf pro Jerry Marshall (Paul Burke), pretty but dangerous Diana (Carol Lynley) offers to kill his rival if Jerry will kill her psychiatrist, who plans to have Diana committed. Of course, things go awry once Diana keeps her end of the deal but …

Read More

Free Birds – Rediscovering ‘The Cranes are Flying’ (Russia 1957 – 94 mins)

Rediscover ‐ September 30, 2018

A must-see movie for romantics who don’t mind subtitles, the beautifully moving drama ‘The Cranes are Flying’ remains one of Russia’s best-loved films, and is perhaps my own personal favourite to come out of the Soviet Union.

It’s Moscow during World War II, and young lovers Boris (Alexei Batalov) and his fiancée Veronika (Tatiana Samoilova) are parted when Boris enlists after Germany attacks Russia. When her parents are killed during an air-raid, her fiancé’s family give Veronika shelter in their home, where she is raped by Boris’ cousin Mark. Feeling guilt and having never heard from her fiancé since he left, …

Read More

“He couldn’t help himself” – Rediscovering ‘Welcome to Arrow Beach’ (US 1974 – 85 mins)

Rediscover ‐ September 16, 2018

Though not a great film, I’ve always rather enjoyed Laurence Harvey’s final movie ‘Welcome to Arrow Beach’, a creepy little chiller with a cannibal twist. It’s not very well made and the editing is choppy, but it has a degree of atmosphere and seriousness about it that has endeared it to a small crowd of genre buffs over the last few decades.

After a near fatal traffic accident, hippie hitch-hiker Robbin Stanley (Meg Foster) decides to take shelter in the beachfront home of Korean War veteran Jason Henry (Laurence Harvey) and his sister Grace (Joanna Pettet). Unbeknownst to Robbin, Jason is …

Read More

Class Conflict – Rediscovering ‘Tunes of Glory’ (UK 1960 – 107 mins)

Rediscover ‐ September 16, 2018

“Good evening gentlemen, my name is Barrow”. And so begins one of the greatest personal clashes in cinema history. The verbal sparring between Alec Guinness’s popular party-loving Major, and John Mills’ by-the-book Lieutenant, is a joy to watch in what I think is one of the unsung classics of British cinema.

In the aftermath of World War II, a Highland Regiment’s acting Colonel; Major Jock Sinclair (Alec Guinness) is furious to learn that he is to be replaced by Lt. Col. Basil Barrow (John Mills) an authoritarian who didn’t rise up from the ranks. Jock Sinclair soon begins a psychological crusade …

Read More

Sweet Phyllis – Remembering Phyllis Davis (1940 – 2013)

Remember ‐ June 17, 2018

With a smile as big as her personality, beautiful Phyllis Davis was one of those Seventies starlets who appeared regularly on screen for nearly 30 years. Though more familiar on television than in film, she nethertheless starred in some pretty good cult movies and a couple of very popular exploitation pieces.

Born Phyllis Ann Davis, in Texas on July 17th 1940, the former airline stewardess got her cinematic break with bit parts in the bizarre but funny ‘Lord Love a Duck’ and the Elvis Presley vehicle ‘Spinout’ (both ’66). After minor roles in another Presley flick ‘Live a Little, Love a …

Read More

A Bumpy Ride! – Rediscovering ‘Two for the Road’ (US 1967 – 112 mins)

Rediscover ‐ April 22, 2018

1967 was a groundbreaking year in American cinema. It ushered in a new wave of violence in movies. Superb films such as ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and ‘In Cold Blood’ all resonated with both critics and the public. But one little movie that year that has since become a favourite for many, is Stanley Donen’s wonderful romantic comedy-drama ‘Two for the Road’.

Whilst travelling through the South of France, Architect Mark (Albert Finney) and his wife Joanna (Audrey Hepburn) look back at their 12 rocky years of marriage. Through frequent flashbacks of their many trips throughout Europe, we witness …

Read More

Outbreak – Rediscovering ‘80,000 Suspects’ (UK 1963 – 113 mins)

Rediscover ‐ March 18, 2018

A minor British drama that’s part medical procedure and part disaster movie; Val Guest’s ‘80,000 Suspects’ is a decent entry in hospital dramas that benefits from a terrific cast and intelligent script.

One New Year’s Eve in the Southwest of England, Dr Stephen Monks (Richard Johnson) discovers a smallpox infection which causes the city of Bath to be put under quarantine. At the same time, Monks marriage to ex-nurse Julie (Claire Bloom) is falling apart following an affair, but becomes even more tested when Julie contracts the virus. Further strain is put on the couple when the disease is traced back …

Read More

The Man Who Fell To Earth – Rediscovering ‘Prey’ (UK 1977 – 85 mins)

Rediscover ‐ February 24, 2018

A pretty good slice of British horror, Norman J Warren’s low-budget Sci-fi ‘Prey’ is a fun exploitation piece, and a neat twist on the oft-used theme of the welcoming couple letting a stranger into their home… with deadly results.

Upon landing on Earth, a sharp-fanged alien (Barry Stokes) kills and takes over the identity of a local man before intruding on a young lesbian couple (Sally Faulkner & Glory Annen) living deep in the English countryside. Although distant and aloof it’s not long before one of the women takes a shine to their mysterious visitor, causing friction in the couples already …

Read More

Crime Stories – Remembering Darlanne Fluegel (1953 – 2017)

Remember ‐ January 12, 2018

For a while it seemed that cult beauty Darlanne Fluegel’s star would surely rise, and even though she went on to have an interesting film and television career, she would never quite reach the heady heights that some critics were hoping for. Still, in her many male-dominated movies, she more than managed to hold her own, battling both sadistic cops and villains in a handful of 1980’s action films.

Born in Pasadena, California, on November 25th 1953, Darlanne Fluegel carved out a successful career as a fashion model before retiring at 25 to pursue a serious acting career. Making her debut …

Read More